Turkey is known to be one of the safest holiday destinations not just in Europe but all throughout the world. According to statistics, it has a lower crime rate compared to other European countries and Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) ranks Turkey as the safest holiday destination in Europe for travelers.
Yet even though Turkey or any other country is as safe as it is known to be, it is always best for a traveler to be aware of the necessary precautions against common threats to personal safety such as handbag or purse snatching, pick pocketing, and mobile (cellular) phone snatching.
Mobile phones or cellphones are just small devices that cost much, therefore it is not surprising that it is also one of the most common targets for thieves to snatch away. And usually, a mobile phone is one of the very personal yet very important possessions that every traveller can't go anywhere without. So whether you will be walking along the streets especially in crowded public places, or even if you're in a bus or train, always be very careful with your personal belongings.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to protect yourself against mobile phone theft while you're out and about in Turkey:
1) Hold your mobile phone firmly with your hands while answering or making a call in any crowded places. Don't just put your mobile phone anywhere if you wish to use its hands-free feature. Mostly, mobile phones are stolen because it is just left behind everywhere. It's just a small but expensive gadget so a thief may just easily pick it up or snatch it away without being noticed.
2) Never leave your mobile phone lying down on places where it is prone to snatchers if you're not using it. Some people are fond of placing their mobile phones over countertops (such as in bars or restaurants while drinking their favorite beverages) or placing them on top of dining tables while eating and chatting with friends. By doing so, most people think it's the easiest way to reach out for their mobile phone as soon as it rings while they are busy doing something. Unfortunately, these are also the places where mobile phones are more likely to attract the roaming-around thieves. Since you can always adjust the ringer volume of your mobile phone a little more higher if you dont want any calls missed, then why not put your phone in a place (such as inside your bag or pocket) where it is safe and secure from its predators.
3) If you're walking on the streets, always keep your mobile phone in your pocket or inside your bag when not in use. Some people who want to show off their latest expensive phones may always carry it with their bare hands. However, this will just make themselves an easier target for snatching compared to those who prefer to keep their phones carefully out of sight.
4) If you are carrying a bag while roaming around from street to street such as while shopping in flea market areas and bazaars ( pazarÄ± in Turkish), it will be wiser to carry your bag securely on your shoulder or hang it across your chest (such as body bags). Sometimes, thieves dont just snatch away mobile phones but also the bags which also contain your wallet or purse. A small backpack which will hang securely on both your shoulders may probably be better than carrying shoulder bags or hand bags when roaming outdoors.
5) If you need to make or receive a call while you're in busy public places, while walking hurriedly up and down crowded stairways, while entering or exiting to and from a metro/subway station, etc., try to keep your calls or conversations as short as possible. And if you can, try not to answer non-urgent calls. Mobile phones are the main target of street theft and it can happen anywhere and anytime of the day even if you are inside public buses or trains.
6) If worst comes to worst, never try to fight with the snatchers. You may shout for help if you have chance to do so, but always try to remember the snatcher's physical features as much as you can. Then go to the nearest police station immediately or call 155 - Police Help (Polis Imdat in Turkish) for your assistance. The same number applies for police assistance to all regions or anywhere within Turkey.
The police ( polis in Turkish) are very helpful and friendly. However, you may not always find any of them talking in English for the main official language in Turkey is Turkish or "TurkÃ§e". Although in some famous touristic places, holiday resorts, and large cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya, there are some police officers who may speak in English and a few other languages.